A permanent endowed chair to support the activities of a distinguished senior member of the atmospheric sciences community has been established at UCAR. The NSF-funded chair is intended to honor an individual for "long-standing and exceptional" contributions to the field. Occupants of the chair are nominated by UCAR and approved by NSF.
Joachim Kuettner, a pioneering meteorologist, developer of early manned space flights, leader of some of the most massive and significant international field projects ever, and record-setting high-altitude glider pilot, is the first occupant of the "UCAR Distinguished Chair for Atmospheric Science and International Research." It would be hard to think of a more appropriate person to hold the chair; its name was, in fact, tailored to Kuettner's interests. The chair was established 15 October 1994 and announced at an 18 October symposium held in honor of Kuettner's 85th birthday. Appointments to the chair are for two years and include salary and a modest fund to support research.
With these funds, Kuettner intends to begin a small project to explore the fine structure of convection-induced gravity waves with a glider equipped to navigate by the satellite-based Global Positioning System (GPS). One problem in planning and conducting research flight paths in an invisible three-dimensional wave system is to navigate precisely enough to get complete coverage of the study area. Kuettner explains that "with GPS you can see your own track while you're still flying. You can tell what you've done so far and navigate to determine exactly where to go next." In addition, he will continue his present involvement in the planning of international field projects and the evaluation of the 1993 Central Equatorial Pacific Experiment (CEPEX) data on the "thermostat" control of maximum tropical sea surface temperature.
Kuettner with the instrumented experimental sailplane he flew in a 1955 research project on mountain waves in California. The Sierra Wave Project documented the mesoscale structure and propagation characteristics of lee waves. Kuettner set a world record of 13,000 meters altitude. (Photo by Harold Klieforth)